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enjoying his new life as a pharmacist

Dermot Reeve enjoying his new life as a pharmacist

I was recently assured by a disingenuous associate that Dermot Reeve had emigrated to New Zealand to open a pharmacy following his retirement from cricket. I took him at his word, revelling in the vague poacher-gamekeeper scenario.

Frankly it’s a laughable notion that Reeve should settle for a life peddling paracetamol to poorly Kiwis. But my gullibility is excusable given the register of unforeseen career-changes among some of his fellow cricketers.

Politics seems like a popular choice at the career office. Imran Khan formed his own party in Pakistan. Manoj Prabhakar stood for the Indian parliament. And it seems that cricketing politicians are as Caribbean as reggae music and Lilt: Learie Constantine, Sir Wes Hall, Roy Fredericks, Sir Frank Worrall and latterly Desmond Haynes have all taken some form of higher office in the West Indies.

Charles Burgess Fry lost three General Election campaigns running as a Liberal candidate and didn’t become King of Albania but the CB CV is a famous read: England cricket captain, long-jump world record holder, international footballer, teacher, editor, writer and all round jolly good polymath. And his party piece was to leap backwards on the mantlepiece. But hey, we’ve all done it.

Kapil Dev had a swing at the golf lark, went into the floodlight business and just last year became Lieutenant Colonel Dev of the Indian Territorial Army. Of course he did.

The list continues like a game of Happy Families: Mr.Hayden the cook, Mr. Croft the pilot, Mr.Russell the artist, and ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Mervyn Hughes, travel agent and actor. The latter seems as fanciful as Reeve Chemists but apparently Merv played a small role in a high-octane comedy actioner called Fat Pizza.

Musicians abound at the old cricketer’s home. Curtly Ambrose and Richie Richardson hooked up over a couple of Lilts to create a reggae band. Shane Watson, AB de Villiers and Brett Lee are all preparing for life after cricket by tuning up their guitars, learning their chords and practising in their garages with their bandmates. Lee has even had time for a change of musical direction. This will never wear thin:

Arguably though the best gig for the senescent cricketer is reality television. The chances of success are high.

Phil Tufnell was the pioneer, wading into the jungle to wrestle with ballet dancers and weathergirls and sneak off with the I’m A Celebrity laurels. TV Tuffers cast off the sullen self-doubt he often displayed as a cricketer and presented himself to the nation as a twinkly cheerful type with an appetite for woodlice.

Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash both found their feet on the dancefloor. They triumphed in consecutive years on Strictly Come Dancing and thus created a minor cricketing monopoly on the show. Gough put aside a shaky cha-cha-cha in the first week to haul his burly, bingo-winged frame across the floor and into the viewer’s affections.

Ramps was a natural dancer from the outset, but his appeal was mainly founded in his growth from shy and retiring type to a sexual god of the samba as Arlene would say. Except that he didn’t retire: carrying on to collate thousands upon thousands of runs.

Mark Butcher represents the sole cricketing failure in the world of reality television, coming up just short during the BBC singing contest Just The Two Of Us. His loss is forgiveable. A talented singer who had the misfortune of being paired up with Sarah Brightman. Brightman has the look of a blow-up doll, and her voice sounds like she is slowly deflating. Her incessant trill simply drowned out Butcher’s bassy tones.

Bad luck Butch. But at least you’re not in the pharmaceutical trade like Dermot Reeve. Or Chris Lewis…

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